Mom, I Want To Go On A Diet

What?

What the fuck?

That moment your kid says: “Mom, I want to go on a diet.”

The scary thing is…it’s the second of my kids to say it in a two week period. WHAT IS HAPPENING????

I don’t use the word “diet” in my vocabulary. I screen my clients with it. I loathe the way it forms in my mouth.

BUT…did it slip out somewhere along the way? Did my daughter catch me looking sideways in the mirror? Does my son know it’s a way to push my buttons? WHAT IS HAPPENING???

I work in an industry where our obsession with thin comes up a lot. And I feel like I talk about two things until I’m blue in the face.

Joy keeps you healthy (aka a healthy weight).

Diets don’t work.

It’s simple. We are beautiful creatures. We come in different shapes. In different sizes. Yet, I find myself getting caught there. Not only professionally, but personally. I was told once I would never make a nutrition-based business work without focusing on weight loss. I’ve thankfully proven that to be wrong. But I, too, have moments where I wonder “Am I thin and/or healthy enough for this industry?” I answer in this moment with a resounding FUCK YES I am. But it’s not that way at every moment.

Regardless of all of this…I am sitting there faced with that statement from my ten year old girl. My mind flashes back to that place. The age I first “went on a diet”. I was about ten years old. It wasn’t too long after my best friend’s mom put her on Weight Watchers because she was “big-boned”. And I fought ferociously then with myself. I was always told I was big-boned. 

What do you say to your ten year old daughter when she says she wants to go on a diet? The thirteen year old boy saying this is another thing. We have a pretty good heart to heart about it. But this one says it and she doesn’t even know why. (She heard it somewhere? Her friends are saying it? She watched some dumb Netflix sitcom that suggested it? What?)

Violet sunshine

So here is what I said (pretty much). And it wasn’t maybe the wisest thing I could say. But it was the most I could think of in that moment.

My Love Letter To Violet (and some other stuff):

Beautiful Violet. First of all…you are stunning. You have the most beautiful soul of anyone I think I’ve ever met. You see the world through rainbow coloured glasses. You float about like a pixie fairy and move like a dancer. You do the handstand splits like an athlete…because you’ve worked so hard to master it. And you play the piano like a rockstar…even if you don’t know the notes. You paint with such colour and vibrance because that’s how you see the world. And you love. Oh how you love. You don’t see the black and white of an argument — you see the grey area that no one sees and you can’t understand why no one sees it. And that is one of the reasons you are such a great friend. You are my beautiful mom’s incarnate. You see the cup half full instead of half empty. You are a wee engineer…the way that fine brain works. You love math. You love life. Your eyes crinkle when you laugh, like the eyes of a wise soul. You have an insane, infectious laugh and your humour makes me howl. When you actually shed tears they are so fat and full of love, it breaks my heart. You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever met because beauty exudes from your pores. You are so light I sometimes think you might take off. 

Don’t. Change. A. Thing.

Secondly, diets don’t work. They never, ever work. Even when they work for a little while, they eventually don’t. There are plenty of physical and psychological reasons for this that I will explain to you when you’re ready. 

Thirdly, this sort of stuff will be a challenge for your entire life. Because we live in this world where women have to maybe work a little harder than men…And you’re going to feel a pull to be or look a certain way. But at least we get the opportunity to create the life we want. And we are damn lucky. But you already live your life like you know that. 

And lastly… Eat Real Food. And sometimes…when you’re begging me for Reece’s Pieces at the movies…that’s okay, too. Life is about working hard and playing hard. And food should be approached like that. Balance. It’s great to know that when you sometimes eat Reece’s Pieces and feel a tiny bit rotten afterwards, you can eat some raspberries and feel pretty darn good. 

People come all different ways. This creates balance in the world, too. We are supposed to be like that. If we were all the same shape and looked all the same and behaved all the same… life would be boooooooring. 

Fuck Diets. (I didn’t say that part. But I wanted to.)

Violet fox button

So I guess this feels raw for a lot of people. No, I don’t agree with dieting. I agree with living. I agree with eating well. I agree with enjoying the hell out of eating well. And there may be a discussion in here for many of you. Maybe it’s a discussion about daughters. Maybe it’s a discussion about your own journey. Now that I’ve opened it up, I want to know.

If you wish to take it further, leave a comment below and we’ll go from there.

I just love the hell out of y’ll and want this word to screw off for good. Or at least exit my kids’ lives for the time being.

Sara xo

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13 Responses to Mom, I Want To Go On A Diet

  1. brittany eidsness August 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    I hear you! It pains me when my nieces talk about diets, and looking at their bodies as if they were something that needed change. I really appreciate your response to your daughter! Good on ya.

    • Sara August 23, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

      Thank you Brittany. I cringe when I hear girls discuss it at any age (including ours). But there was another level of heartbreak this time.

  2. Robbin August 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    So the term big boned hits home for me. As a kid I was a competitive athlete and was surrounded by eating disorders but thankfully NEVER felt that pull, and never saw myself as anything but my “sporty” self. That term came from adults especially when comparing to my waif like cousins. But it never phased me……until adulthood. Or more accurately the past 5 years. I will truly watch my words around young people and all people for that matter. Life is too short to skip the cheese plate. (Unless in dump season!)

    • Sara August 23, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

      Life IS too short to skip the cheese plate. THAAAAAAAANK you. And thanks for being part of the Dump Community. xo

  3. Danielle August 24, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    Oh. My. God. I love this. Another friend just finished a post about trying to go back to school shopping with her less than 10 year old daughter, and how all jeans in every store for young girls are “SKINNY” jeans. Her daughter and my daughter (also under 10), don’t have ‘that’ body type, but are 100% healthy and with being dancers, have muscular lower bodies. I don’t ever want her to feel that she needs to ‘diet’ because she doesn’t fit into those clothes. I adore your posts Sara Bradford! Please don’t ever change 🙂

    • Sara August 24, 2016 at 8:42 am #

      Thanks you for this, Danielle. And thank you for honouring your daughter’s beautiful muscular dancer body by not buying stupid kid skinny jeans. (Thank goodness for leggings for kids because i don’t know if they make any other options. sigh.)

  4. Michelle August 24, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    Bravo bravo bravo!!
    Will share this far and wide <3

    • Sara August 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Thank you, my friend. xo

  5. Sarah August 24, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    Sara,
    Diet is a four letter word that should be banned from the English language.
    I can’t tell you how profoundly this hits home for me. I went through my entire childhood and teens thinking I was a massive whale…simply because of a stupid effing number on a scale.
    I have a positive story about being “big boned” though.
    Like I said earlier, most of my life I have been plagued by the idea that I was “fat” because I didn’t weigh what my friends did. I developed earlier than all of them so that didn’t help either.
    In 2013 I was moving. During the move I almost fell down the stairs backwards. I caught myself on the banister with my wrist. My entire body weight on one wrist. Now, it hurt, a lot, and I went to the hospital to make sure I hadn’t broken it (which I hadn’t).
    When talking to my father that evening telling him that my wrist wasn’t broken despite having all of my body weigh thrust upon it he said to me “you are build like my grandmother, she was built like a brick shit house!”
    That was an ah ha moment for me…my bones are big!!! I have broad shoulders and wide hips! I am built like this because of genetics!!!
    I no longer am ruled by the number on the scale…it’s a big, fat, liar! I now gauge how I feel about myself by how I actually feel.
    Luckily my daughter has never asked to go on a diet and kudos to you for the way you handles your daughter’s request!

    • Sara August 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Wow Sarah. Just wow. I can’t believe we aren’t celebrating these strong girl bodies. And I know this 4-letter-word plagues us all in different ways. And we must be very, very careful with girls developing quicker than others. (I was “done” developing by end of grade 5.) I love how you turned the big-boned thing around. Bravo. And it’s shitty that you suffered from it at all.

  6. Lisa August 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm #

    I wish I said those words out loud twenty years ago. But I stayed silent and decided that I would go on a diet. Fast forward to a debilitating illness that I’ve been living with now for half of my life.
    It started out innocent and turned into an eating disorder.
    I wish I spoke to someone because I know I had the support back then but decided to be silent.
    It’s great your daughter is speaking about it. You are doing exactly what you should. She is doing what I wish I did.
    It’s a hell I wish I never knew.
    If anyone of your kids, friends, siblings, loved ones or yourself want to diet and it’s not warranted take a trip down my memory lane.
    It will change your view and let you make the right decision.

    https://20yearsaprisoner.wordpress.com

  7. vanessa August 29, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    Here’s my two cents. We have not created a dialogue that says, I am not happy with my body and here is why. Instead the only way we have created is to say, “oh god, I need to diet.” This is perpetuated in the lifestyle shows we are addicted to that constantly run segments on how to lose weight. I have spent the last ten years trying to lose weight. Ah, but how you are changing this mindset and dialogue sweet Sara! And not just with the recipes your share and the dumps you run, but by being a holistic nutritionist that lets her kid eat some damn chocolate every now and then and by being honest, because I know it has relieved some of the pressure I put on myself to achieve that level of perfection as a woman and a mom that simply does not exist. This post may have inspired me to throw out the scale that I check every damn morning! And remember moma how long it took you to get where you are mentally about bodies and what they are and should look like. We will cut that time in half for our daughters and sons, but I guess they still have to go over the bumps first.

    • Sara August 30, 2016 at 7:27 am #

      Throw out the scale!! Lady, you’ve got it. There is no level of perfection. It’s more about self-love than anything else. I know that sounds like I’m simplifying it. But the whole world of “diet” has been created by an industry that makes a lot of money off of our weaknesses. (The detox industry is no different.) I cannot tell you how incredible it makes me feel knowing I have some small of change in the way you look at food. Hooray. xo

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